Gender-Based Violence in Papua New Guinea

Laura Baines

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a phenomenon that occurs globally, to varying degrees and with various consequences. This essay investigates GBV, specifically family violence, where most often the victim is the wife and the perpetrator is the husband, in the context of Papua New Guinea (PNG). I argue that although GBV is difficult to measure, small-scale studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that GBV is severe and widespread, and in some instances worsening. In PNG society, there remain several challenges that inhibit the substantial reduction of GBV. Cultural challenges include the existence and adherence to bride price traditions; women’s lack of political representation, affecting how this issue is dealt with at the highest level of society; and the traditional village court systems, which align judgments with customary male-biased law. There are State sector challenges present that also inhibit a reduction of GBV, such as inadequate and biased policing services; and inefficient, sporadic and underfunded support services (e.g. hospitals and emergency shelters). Change in PNG cannot be achieved in a short time frame. It may take generations for significant change to be made in communities so that women are viewed as equals and for GBV not to be seen as the ‘norm’. When this occurs, a reduction in severe and widespread GBV may be experienced in PNG.

Research Type(s)
Journal Article
Submitted by Toksave
March 21, 2021
Published in
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